Benitez: Everyone has to improve

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez acknowledged that the Reds deserved nothing from their opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur. Liverpool were not up to their usual high standards as they failed to match the opening-game wins of probable title rivals Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. After falling behind to Benoit Assou-Ekotto's stunning strike, the Reds levelled through Steven Gerrard's penalty before Sebastien Bassong headed the winner on his debut.

"As a team we were not comfortable in possession in the first half," Benitez said.

"We were much better in the second half and we were pushing hard and moving the ball better, but clearly we have to win these type of games. Everyone has to improve. We have to improve in the middle, keeping the ball. The understanding has to be better."

Benitez insisted it was far too early in the season to discuss any damage to Liverpool's title challenge, and he added: "It's too early to make judgements. We have another game on Wednesday against Stoke so we have to respond.

"We have quality in the squad and we have to deal with this. There is no extra pressure on us this season," he said. "We knew we were playing against a good team, but we didn't play well."

Clearly we have to win these type of games. Everyone has to improve.
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez

While Benitez lamented, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hailed a superb display by his team that raised hopes of a serious push for a top four finish.

"I thought we played well and deserved the win. We beat them 2-1 last season, but they destroyed us. How we won I don't know," he said.

"This time it was a different story. I thought we could have had the game won at half-time.

"We worked hard on pressing. We knew they would work it across the back and then drop Gerrard into midfield," Redknapp said. "We wanted to get after them high up the park and we forced them to knock it long."